The Texas Department of State Health Services advises the public to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites that may lead to West Nile illness. As we enter the warmer months, the risk of exposure to virus-carrying mosquitoes increases. The intensity of West Nile activity in Texas fluctuates from year to year and depends on a variety of factors including the weather, the numbers of birds and mosquitoes that maintain and spread the virus, and human behavior. The season can last until the first hard freeze of the year.
It’s never too early to take steps to control the mosquito population in your neighborhood and to combat West Nile Virus. Reducing the mosquito population and your risk of being bitten by them is the best way to prevent infection.
Avoid going outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear long sleeves and pants to leave less of your skin exposed.
Use an insect repellent every time you go outside, and follow the instructions on the label. The most effective repellents contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and certain oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products.
Regularly drain standing water, including water collecting in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus breed in stagnant water.
Use mosquito dunks in bird baths and other standing water. Dunks kill the mosquito larvae before it matures into biting adults. Mosquito dunks can be purchased at hardware stores.
Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
More Information About Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illness
Mosquito Safari - Many homeowners create their own backyard mosquito problem by allowing water to stand in hidden sites. This video offers tips for spotting and eliminating mosquito breeding sites.